In 2011, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to publish The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. This report is a collaborative report written by a committee of scholars nationwide. Its purpose is to put forth recommendations that allow nurses to “(1) ensure that nurses can practice to the full extent of their education and training (2) improve nursing education, (3) provide opportunities for nurses to assume leadership positions and to serve as full partners in health care redesign and improvement efforts, and (4) improve data collection for workforce planning and policy making” (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institutes of Medicine [RWJF and IOM]. This report sets a blueprint to assist nurses in achieving these goal. One of the topics discussed in this report is the future of nursing education.
The changes being made to our country’s healthcare system must include changes in nursing education prior to licensing and post license practicing nurses. With this change comes the need for a larger amount of nurses entering the workforce to have a bachelor’s degree or obtain it very early in the career. This report states that nurses must be adequately trained to care for a diverse population and to provide all patients safe and quality care and to perform as a leader. Nurses also must be prepared to care for patients in different care settings, such as, community and public health settings. The baccalaureate nurse receives this education whereas an associate’s degree nurse does not. Nurses should continue to educate themselves throughout the career with physicians and other healthcare professionals. A better educated nurse leads to better education for the patient thus possibly keeping them from an acute care facility and able to manage their disease or symptoms at home. As our healthcare system transforms, so must nursing practice.
Nursing roles will change and be redefined. With the Affordable Care Act of 2010 new roles will be available to nurses. Advanced Practice Nurses (APN) will see the biggest change in roles as the role of the primary care clinician is reviewed. The changing healthcare system is shifting towards patient-centered care and steering away from specialty care to deliver more primary care and providing more community and public health education and treatment to try to help the patient stay away from acute care. As we see this change towards primary care, it is important to note there is a shortage of APRN and physicians staying in primary care. As an RN practicing with this information, I would be sure to collaborate with primary care to achieve patient-centered care within the community.
As nurses we are leaders for the patient and other entities of the healthcare system. Strong leadership is critical if the vision of a transformed health care system is to be realized (RWJF and IOM, 2011, p. 221). As the nursing profession evolves, we must provide leaders to collaborate with other healthcare professionals. As nurses we must maintain accountability and deliver high quality care while working actively with leaders and other members of the healthcare team. All nurses must be leaders in advocating for the patient. As leaders of our profession we must work collaboratively with the patient, physicians and other healthcare professionals. A baccalaureate prepared nurse is educated with the leadership skills needed to provide quality care for the public and our patients. Nurses must maintain a partnership with all healthcare professionals and be accountable for the decisions made in how to improve on quality of care.
Nurses must look at policy as something that can be changed rather than something they cannot change. As leaders in the nursing profession, nurses must be able to understand policy and employ the political process and work coherently as a profession. In conclusion, the IOM report gives nurses the ability to look forward to the future and the changes that can be made. It gives nurses a common goal that can be used for leadership opportunities and how to collaborate care with other disciplines, a guide for education and recommendations for nursing degrees such as the baccalaureate nursing programs. Experienced nurses must take the time to orient the new nurse in the leadership role at the bedside and beyond. “Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States” (RWJF and IOM, 2011, p. 221).
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute of Medicine. (2011). The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. The Institute of Medicine, 1. Retrieved from http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=12956&